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Report: Jackson put 'curse' on Spielberg

Voodoo rituals, prosthetics and bleaching

Michael Jackson

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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Embattled pop star Michael Jackson wears a prosthetic nose and once paid $150,000 for a "voodoo curse" to kill director Steven Spielberg despite being deep in debt, Vanity Fair magazine reported on Monday.

Vanity Fair, in an article for its April issue, also reports that Jackson bleaches his skin white because he does not like being black. The 44-year-old singer sometimes refers to black people as "spabooks," the magazine said

Jackson's manager did not immediately return phone calls and a faxed request for comment on the article. Jackson's London publicist could not be reached for comment.

The onetime King of Pop has been dogged by controversy for months, first over his odd appearance in a California courtroom last November. That same month, Jackson stunned fans in Berlin by briefly dangling his young son from a hotel balcony.

And in February a British television documentary that aired to blockbuster ratings both in England and the United States caused a stir when Jackson told his interviewer that he slept in the same room, and sometimes the same bed, as young boys.

Vanity Fair reported in the article that in 2000 Jackson attended a voodoo ritual in Switzerland where a witch doctor promised that Spielberg, music mogul David Geffen and 23 other people on the entertainer's list of enemies would die.

Jackson, who underwent a "blood bath" as part of the ritual, then ordered his former business adviser Myung-Ho Lee to wire $150,000 to a bank in Mali for a voodoo chief named Baba, who sacrificed 42 cows for the ceremony, the magazine reported.

Vanity Fair reported that Jackson wears a page-boy wig and a prosthesis that serves as the tip of his nose. The magazine interviewed a source close to Jackson who said that, without the device Jackson resembles a mummy with two nostril holes.

According to the magazine, Jackson's extravagant lifestyle and declining record sales have left him $240 million in debt.

The article, which relies in part on court filings in a $12 million lawsuit against Jackson by Lee, said that since the mid-1990s the reclusive entertainer has relied on a series of multimillion-dollar loans to cover his expenses.

In addition to the lawsuit by Lee, Jackson is also enmeshed in a $21 million court battle with German concert promoter Marcel Avram over canceled Millennium concerts and has been sued by Sotheby's auction house for $1.6 million.

The magazine reported that Jackson must pay off the principal on a $200 million loan within a few years, which will be nearly impossible unless he sells his most valuable asset, the Beatles song catalogue. He owns only half of the catalogue while Sony Corp. owns the other half in an arrangement that might make selling his share difficult, Vanity Fair reported.

Jackson has also run up nearly $4 million per year in expenses from his Neverland Valley ranch in central California, where in April 2001 his amusement park equipment was nearly repossessed for late payments, the magazine said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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